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PROPERTY FROM A BELGIAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

William Degouve de Nuncques
BELGIAN
LA GROTTE DU DRAC, MANACOR
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
25

PROPERTY FROM A BELGIAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

William Degouve de Nuncques
BELGIAN
LA GROTTE DU DRAC, MANACOR
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

19th Century European Paintings

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London

William Degouve de Nuncques
1867 - 1935
BELGIAN
LA GROTTE DU DRAC, MANACOR
signed and dated W Degouve de Nuncques / 1901 lower left
oil on canvas
48 by 60.5cm., 19 by 23¾in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Gisèle Ollinger-Zinque.

Provenance

Suzanne Degouve de Nunques, by descent from the artist (née Poulet. Suzanne was the artist's second wife, who was previously married to the polar explorer Adrien de Gerlache)
Sale: Hôtel George V, Paris, Rêves symbolistes, 25 June 1975, lot 152
Barry Friedman Ltd., New York (by 1984)
Sale: Sotheby's, New York, 24 May 1988, lot 104 
Joey & Toby Tannenbaum, Toronto
Private collection, Ghent
Galerie Jean Nelis, Brussels 
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2009

Exhibited

Munich, Michael Hasenclever Gallery, Austellung Symbolismus, 1978, no. 12, illustrated in the catalogue 
Chicago, University of Chicago, David and Alfred Smart Gallery; New York, Barry Friedman Ltd.; Wilmington, Delaware Art Museum, Fernand Khnopff and the Belgian Avant-Garde, 1984, no. 39, illustrated in the catalogue
Namur, Musée Félicien Rops; Otterlo, Kröller-Müller Museum; William Degouve de Nuncques maître du mystère, 2012, illustrated in the catalogue

Literature

Hans Wijgergangs, Ronald Feltkamp and Théo Galle, William Degouve de Nuncques online catalogue raisonné, 3.1901.011, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Painted in Mallorca in 1901, La Grotte du Drac is among the most remarkable and poetic of the dreamlike landscapes Degouve de Nuncques painted during his two-and-a-half-year stay on the island. The inspiration for the present work came from the great subterranean lake within the Cuevas del Drach to the island’s east near Manacor, a location which had only recently been explored by the father of speleology Édouard-Alfred Martel.

Anticipating the later Surrealism of René Magritte and Max Ernst, Degouve inflects the other-worldly, eerily silent subject with the spiritual, enigmatic mood of his nocturnes, creating a luminously melting harmony of blue, green and white. While Degouve took much inspiration from the visionary Symbolist poetry of Verhaeren and Maeterlinck, during his stay in Mallorca he befriended the Catalan artists Joaquim Mir (lots 18, 21 and 25) and Santiago Rusiñol (lot 17), selling a version of the present work to Rusiñol (now Museu Cau Ferrat, Sitges).

Painted in the year that marked the beginning of Picasso's blue period, in style and emotional content La Grotte du Drac, Manacor underlines the fruitful relationship between Spanish and Belgian modern art at the time.

19th Century European Paintings

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London